Double dipping tax not a good idea
In open commissioner’s court, Bremond ISD made a request for a county sheriff’s officer to police the campus as well as special school events, i.e football games, etc. Citing budget shortfalls of the City of Bremond, the ISD is looking for a way to help protect the kids; in other words provide security at Bremond ISD. Normally a city officer could be hired by the ISD to supply security, according to open court, the City of Bremond’s shortfall will effect the city police department.
Here’s the deal. Bremond approached the county to help pay for an officer. The Bremond ISD would pay half of the sheriff’s officer salary, the county would pay the other half. Sounds simple enough, but not when you take a look at it from a tax payers prerspective.
First and foremost, if the county agrees to the reuest, they will open up taxpayer dollars for school districts. Not just Bremond, but all the schools in Robertson County. The County can not offer a service to just one school, they would have to offer the service to all schools, and campuses. In other words, as an example, you would be charged for Hearne ISD, through the county taxes, even though you already pay school taxes for Franklin ISD. It’s double dipping.
It is legal however, a county could engage in a county-wide school security program. We as taxpayers could face this kind of increase in our county taxes.
So let’s look at the cost of this program and the effect it would have on us. The cost of a single officer is roughly $66,657.00. A lot is considered in that total, but what is not is the cost of a car, fuel, weapon, bullets, 40 hours of training annually and 40 hours vacation time.
There are 9 eligible campuses, Bremond ISD (1), Hearne ISD (3), Franklin ISD (3), Mumford ISD (1) and Calvert ISD (1). That would mean nine officers that would spend the majority of the time on duty for the ISD, certainly the county would see use of these officers over the summer and holiday breaks. But not as much as you think. Consider 7on7 football, band camps, etc., the point is more happens at a school over the summer than most people know. But still the officer would be made available for county use.
Total for nine officers ($66,657.00 x 9) $599,913.00. Throw in about 400,000.00 for the cars, uniforms and other forementioned non-included expenses and we are talking about $900,000.00 - $1,000,000.00 in added county expense. That is a .02¢ to .028¢ increase in your taxes, annually, and it will only go up over the years.
Now consider this, the ISD’s are taxing entities. In other words, you are already paying school tax for one of the five Robertson County ISDs. School districts have the ability to raise tax monies by .01¢ for the purpose of security at the school.
Bremond ISD can provide security for the students through their own tax funds.
The City of Bremond can not offer an officer. Their budget will not allow for this deal. But isn’t the cities responsibility to look after the ISD. No, it is not, in fact an ISD will historically pay a city officer when available, or hire their own security guard. If the City of Bremond can not offer an officer, the Bremond ISD should look into hiring a security guard.
Robertson County should not get into this business. I’m all for securing our schools and keeping our kids safe, as I’m sure you are as well. But this deal opens up all sorts of tax issues and I for one do not like the “double dipping” tax approach.
Bremond ISD has the ability to raise taxes to pay for security at school and they should because our childrens safety and health are important to us all.
While the court is still out on the subject, meetings have been planned to look at this pproposal. I hope that the commissioner’s will understand that this type of tax arrangement is not in the best interest of the tax payer. Overall I believe that ISD superintendents will find self-sufficant avenues a better solution to this problem.
Dennis Phillips | Publisher, Robertson County News